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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating with Disabilities > What Does it Mean to Love?

Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake

What Does it Mean to Love in Today's World?

Editor's Note: We are pleased to welcome Melissa Blake to the Online Dating Magazine team where she will be writing about dating with disabilities on a weekly basis.

My good friend, Claire, once dubbed me "a downhome Carrie Bradshaw.’ I’m not quite sure what exactly she meant by this moniker, but she coined it one day after we’d had lunch together at our local diner. She later told me she saw me zooming down the street in my wheelchair, past the lagoon on a bright, sunny day, chatting away on my cell phone. I took the new name as a compliment; I suppose this puts me somewhere in the middle of a fast-talking, fall-in-love-too-fast power girl from Manhattan and a laid-back and hugely awkward girl from a small Midwestern town.

So who am I, really, besides just a girl sitting behind a computer screen and giving you an inside look at my heart and my thoughts?

I’m the girl who can usually be found wearing a chic polo shirt (red is my favorite!). I'm the girl who is a bit awkward, a bit dorky and still a bit innocent. I'm the girl who isn't afraid to laugh at herself. I'm the girl who still, at 27, celebrates her half birthday. I'm the girl who colors outside the lines. I'm the girl who is bold and confident (though I’m not sure men have picked up on my boldness yet). I'm the girl who likes to leave a little mystery behind her.

I'm the girl who writes about anything and everything in her life, even the boys she falls madly in love with who don't even know she exists. I'm the girl who is still so shy that she gives said boys code names in said writing (you'll see....). I’m the girl who’s mastered the art of loving from afar, but ultimately, never having the courage to tell the gorgeous, sweet, funny, charming guy that he is, in fact, gorgeous, sweet, funny and charming. Or when I try, it always ends up not sounding anywhere near as sleek and sophisticated as it did in my head.

I’m the girl who, at 16, wrote a list in my diary of Personality Traits I Want My Future Husband To Possess. I’m also the girl who lets these 20 traits guide her heart still today.

I'm the girl who thinks imperfections are beautiful and sexy.

And I’m also the girl who has overcome great obstacles – 27 surgeries, countless hospitalizations and enough needle pokes to last me two lifetimes – despite being born with a physical disability. I’ve never let it define who I am or my life, but in the last few years, oddly, my disability has seemingly morphed into the defining factor when it comes to my attempts to strut my stuff on the dating scene. I ve often asked myself these questions: How can you get someone (a guy, in my case) to look past your disability – or any other of your insecurities – and see the real you. Not the you with makeup on. Not the you wearing a sparkling dress and heels. Not even the you who smiles even though
she’s sad. The real you – without makeup, metaphorically naked and not ashamed to show people who you are.

I can't say I have all that much experience in the world of love, romance and the intensity of relationships that drives people to do crazy things in the name of love. In all honesty, when it comes to said relationships (especially those involving the opposite sex), my run-ins have all had three things in common: dorky, awkward and quirky.

But I do know I'll find The Big L someday.

What’s better than redefining love altogether? Injecting my own brand of quirkiness into it – in heavy doses. The way I see it, love and relationships are like a one-way street always under road construction. You can see your destination, but can't quite get there, right? And let's not even get started on all those confusing signs pointing every which way. What do those signs even mean?

But really, what does it mean to love in today's world? What is it that keeps our blood pumping and our hearts racing? Because let’s face it, love in the modern age, with an inbox full of emails and an overflow of texts messages, isn’t what it was even 10 years ago. The ways we find love and the ways we keep it have all changed, and I, just like you, am trying to keep up.

Come along for the journey; you might learn a thing or two about yourself along the way.

Who knows? Maybe someday I really will be the Midwest's answer to Carrie Bradshaw. Anyone up for a glass of spiked lemonade on the porch?

~ Melissa

P.S. I realize this all sounds like one big profile on Match.com. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'll let you be the judge.


           

Dating with Disabilities is published every Tuesday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Melissa Blake. Melissa is a freelance writer and columnist. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Pregnancy magazine and the Chicago Tribune. She can be reached at mellow1422@aol.com.


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